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May 20: The Pamplin Pulse

From the Desk of Dean Sarker

The following is an abridged version of Dean Saonee Sarker’s remarks from the 2024 Pamplin Engagement Summit.

What do I mean when I talk about Next-Gen Pamplin?

At Pamplin, we want to provide next-gen business education, conduct rigorous and relevant research, and create meaningful impact through responsible behaviors. How do we reach the Next-Gen Pamplin? And why Next-Gen Pamplin?

Many shifts within the business environment require us to change course and think about our next generational view of the college. There are things such as essential changes. Data is often seen as the new oil (Baiyere et al. 2023). AI’s flexibility and generativity are affording users an expansive set of possibilities. There is an emphasis on combinatorial approaches, where we can take pieces, combine them into different things, and generate something completely different. The sustained competitive advantage of a business, or even a college, stands not in siloed ways or those little pieces, but in how we uniquely combine those pieces.

Then there are the economic shifts. There are new ways of value creation, how we are delivering products and services, and how we are capturing them. This means we need to take a strong look at those shifts and how they are informing our education, our programs, and our operations.

This helps us understand why we need a Next-Gen Pamplin. So, what is Next-Gen Pamplin? Next-Gen Pamplin is going to be organized around two major themes.

One theme is academic excellence. This will emphasize the skills needed to be a responsible leader in the digitalized workforce. We are looking at mandatory skills for all our Pamplin graduates in six different categories: data and algorithmic decision-making, financial literacy, communication, sustainability, digital ethics, and global and cultural competence.

Experiential learning will also be a part of Next-Gen Pamplin. These transformational experiences can come in the form of mandatory internships or global study-abroad programs.

Today's education is about on-demand. Students are not only demanding the modality (whether it be from home or in a remote location) in how they want an education, but they are also demanding that they be able to combine it in ways that fit their needs. It's no longer the time when students will fit their life into our programs. We need to fit our programs into our students’ lives. That's where the modular combinatorial approach comes in and will help guide our Next-Gen Pamplin.

Research excellence will continue to be an emphasis. We want rigorous research as well as relevant research. How do we convey our rigorous research in a relevant way to a wider range of audiences, ones with closer ties with industry? Sponsored research initiatives with an emphasis on transdisciplinary work can provide one pathway to that. Integration with the Innovation Campus, not just the physical campus, but also the concept of the Innovation Campus, can provide another pathway.

It is through Next-Gen Pamplin that I present to you the Pamplin-plus student.

The Pamplin-plus students will have an entrepreneurial spirit that will make them agile thinkers, leveraging opportunities and solving complex business problems through a collaborative approach that can transform data analytics into insights and action. They will be proficient in digital technologies and platforms as well as be active lifelong learners. They will be real-world problem solvers, rigorous, relevant, and responsive to the needs of business and industry, always looking forward to tomorrow. They will be responsible. They will be accountable. They will have the skills of inclusivity, of fiscal literacy, and will also be ethically aware and sustainable.

Now, how do we achieve Next-Gen Pamplin and give the world the Pamplin-plus student?


There are a lot of exciting things happening at the Pamplin College of Business, especially with the new strategic planning process and the Pamplin 2029 initiative. We have our work cut out for us, but I know my college colleagues, my faculty, and my staff are ready.  

Reconnect with Pamplin College of Business at Alumni Weekend

June 6-9

Alumni Weekend is an exciting tradition alumni look forward to all year long. Join us to celebrate your class reunion, reconnect with your student organization and friends, and meet new Hokies! Return to Blacksburg to explore campus, have fun, and learn. Alumni Weekend is for all Hokies!

Learn about the Global Business and Analytics Complex, tour the Data and Decision Sciences Building, and join Dean Saonee Sarker and fellow Pamplin alums for lunch at The Maroon Door.

Tours of the Data and Decision Sciences building will be hosted Friday at 1:30 and 2:15 p.m. with check in at the Perry Street parking garage.

Your registration includes access to all events, plus food, drinks, and activities. We’ve got everything covered — just sign up and get ready for a weekend to remember. You can check out the full schedule of events online. Don’t miss out — secure your spot today!

Register Today>>

Pamplin in the News & Notes